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Favorite trailhead

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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby texan » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:38 pm

I like North Lake a lot. You can get over Puite Pass quickly and into some a amazing country fast.

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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby ndwoods » Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:45 am

I really like Mineral King. So many wonderful trips there. But...it is a looonnggg drive for me. I would say most frequented is Tuolumne area...same but opposite reason....short drive for me.
I would say Roads end would be close to the top of my list and someone mentioned Maxson earlier...oh yea!:)
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Dec 29, 2014 8:50 pm

I guess I don't have a single favorite. Perhaps this should be kickoff points, since some of my favorites are not "trailheads" because there is no trail. Some kickoffs I like because there are lots of places that can be easily reached and the starting point is very scenic (examples: Little Lakes Valley, Saddlebag Lake, Virginia Lakes). Others I like because there are some serious lunker lakes within easy range of the car (several trailheads in Desolation).

I like the big East Side takeoffs for getting to the deep backcountry, but I like those that you don't have to pull 5000'+ of gain to get to the first lake with good fish in it. To that end, I guess my favorite high East Side kickoff point is North Lake: One way you can go over Lamarck Col, the other way over Piute Pass. West side is trickier. My current favorite is Hoffman Mtn., but part of that may be the novelty of starting major trips with an off trail segment right off the bat with two top-of-the-line destinations as alternate first targets. Like WD I don't like Edison or Florence because of that long road. I have long been someone who likes fast mountain driving, but I don't like folks rounding blind curves too fast to avoid oncoming traffic as is a bit too common on that road. I will confess to being relieved when I have a "lead blocker" of that variety. My 2nd favorite W side entry after Hoffman Mtn. is Wolverton because you can get out on to the Tableland so quickly. I like Road's End, but it is a long way to get to the first fishing lakes on the main Bubbs spur (Sphinxes or East L) and that other one "up the side" is 5500+ of gain to reach. Road's End plays like an East Side kickoff for the amount of hiking to the first camp.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby hurricaniac » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:52 pm

South Lake (Bishop Pass) is my favorite east side TH. Starts out high, and you are immediately rewarded by walking past beautiful lakes and big-peak scenery in the first couple miles. Then to hit Bishop Pass and have the Palisades/Dusy Basin/LeConte Cyn in your face is sublime.

Favorite west side TH is Crescent Meadow on the High Sierra Trail. Starting out by walking past giant Sequoias and then bursting out into that breath-taking panorama of the Kaweahs and basin the whole way in to Bearpaw is just stunning.
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby shan1203 » Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:15 pm

Onion Valley is my favorite which could have something to do with the fact that it was the first trailhead I ever used into the Sierra (our first trip was Onion Valley to Whitney Portal)

I love everything about using Onion Valley as my gateway to the Sierras:
    --The drive along 395 is awesome, as someone said earlier it is truly part of the journey, and the final leg to Onion Valley from 395 is just gorgeous and fun.
    --The hike from Onion Valley to Kearsarge is perfect - a beautiful strings of lakes, 2,600 ft of elevation gain (not too much, not too little), several little anomalies - the boulder field just a mile or two up the trail, the avalanche zone and the parking lot (from above) looks like an onion from Super Mario 2
    --The view from Kearsarge Pass - how could you not be inspired? Look at all there is to do!!!

To me, the junction pictured below feels like the crossroads of the Sierra Nevada. Endless possibilities in every direction. I love it.

P8290221.jpg
JMT junction - Coming from Charlotte Lake, looking towards Kearsarge Pass.

Happy Hiking,
Shannon
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby Cross Country » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:09 am

I forgot Vidette Lake (s). I neither caught nor saw any fish but had the feeling there were a few fish in the lake. I only day hiked it with Mike from Bubbs Creek.
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby bravefanla » Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:18 pm

I agree with Cross Country that Roads End is good, however coming from Pasadena I prefer Onion Valley/Kearsarge Pass which allows me to access all the spots that he's listed in a shorter amount of time. I can be at the Onion Valley parking lot in 5ish hours from my door and that includes stopping at the Lone Pine Ranger Station for a BC Permit.
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby Big Ed » Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:23 pm

Cross Country wrote:I had forgotten:
The pass that takes you from Sphinx creek to the Roaring River.


Avalanche Pass, I did that in 08. The trail is like a stair case in the beginning.
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby Big Ed » Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:34 pm

TehipiteTom wrote: the Dinkey Lakes trailhead is one I will not do again. The condition of the "road" is just too horrible, and there are too many places where anyone with a normal vehicle risks major damage.


It never occurred to me that anyone would get their vehicle damaged on that road, so I would think you were driving too fast for conditions. I see cars at that trailhead every time I go there. Drive the road accordingly, and don't expect to be able to drive it like a highway, and you should be fine.
Last edited by Big Ed on Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby Big Ed » Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:10 pm

When I first read the thread title I thought I don't have a favorite trailhead. I do a lot of point to point trips, so I think more of what's between the points than what I can get to from the trailhead. My trips also take me past junctions for other trail heads along the way, so I'm seeing things without using the nearby trailhead. Then I started thinking about what trail heads I've used the most,

Florence Lake 5
Roads End 4
Mono Creek 5
Maxson Dome 10 (this is a misleading number), I've walked through Dusy Ershim 4WD trail 5 times scouting conditions for the 4WD club. Did one out and back trip into Red Mountain Basin. Three trips three miles in, helping Back Country Horsemen with projects. And ended one trip that started near Lake Edison.

Other trail heads I've only used once or twice, I've also entered the wilderness from non trail heads.
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby TehipiteTom » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:26 am

Big Ed wrote:
TehipiteTom wrote: the Dinkey Lakes trailhead is one I will not do again. The condition of the "road" is just too horrible, and there are too many places where anyone with a normal vehicle risks major damage.


It never occurred to me that anyone would get their vehicle damaged on that road, so I would think you were driving too fast for conditions. I see cars at that trailhead every time I go there. Drive the road accordingly, and don't expect to be able to drive it like a highway, and you should be fine.

Um...no. I wasn't.

(Though there are some nasty surprise potholes--pot-trenches?--in the first mile or so, where the initially good pavement goes suddenly terrible, and I imagine some folks run into trouble there.)

I'm talking about the last couple miles in particular, where the road deteriorates pretty significantly and there are a couple big outcrops that take some maneuvering to avoid. Maybe someone with a high-clearance vehicle wouldn't worry about that, but I'm talking normal vehicles like my Honda Fit.
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Re: Favorite trailhead

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:30 am

TehipiteTom wrote:
Big Ed wrote:
TehipiteTom wrote: the Dinkey Lakes trailhead is one I will not do again. The condition of the "road" is just too horrible, and there are too many places where anyone with a normal vehicle risks major damage.


It never occurred to me that anyone would get their vehicle damaged on that road, so I would think you were driving too fast for conditions. I see cars at that trailhead every time I go there. Drive the road accordingly, and don't expect to be able to drive it like a highway, and you should be fine.

Um...no. I wasn't.

(Though there are some nasty surprise potholes--pot-trenches?--in the first mile or so, where the initially good pavement goes suddenly terrible, and I imagine some folks run into trouble there.)

I'm talking about the last couple miles in particular, where the road deteriorates pretty significantly and there are a couple big outcrops that take some maneuvering to avoid. Maybe someone with a high-clearance vehicle wouldn't worry about that, but I'm talking normal vehicles like my Honda Fit.


I agree that that road is usually in bad enough shape to be potentially damaging to a passenger car regardless of the level of driver care and skill. That condition of the last part of road can also vary tremendously from year to year and during the course of a single season. In the late 80's and early 90's I successfully drove low-clearance passenger cars to the trailhead, but even then that required some serious finesse. I do think that it was generally much less rough back then. What makes it difficult for a 2WD low-clearance passenger car is that there are a few spots where you need to get up sufficient momentum to overcome a fairly steep slope, whereas you have to finesse it so as not to hit a rock or high-center. With 4WD and high clearance one can take the steep stuff much more slowly. More recently I have driven our 4WD Pathfinder on that road and it has always been in a condition that looked pretty sketchy for a low-clearance passenger car. Twice in the late 80's and early 90's I had to get my vehicle (passenger car: either '79 Corolla or '87 Celica) aligned after a Dinkey's trip, either from tweaking something on that last part or (what we suspect) by hitting one of those monstrous potholes of the lower semi-paved section at excessive speed.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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